Hurt's Battery

In 1861 Robert A. Hardaway of Macon County, with the assistance of John W. Tullis, raised a company of men mostly from Russell, Macon, and Tallapoosa Counties, Ala., of which Hardaway was elected captain and Tullis a lieutenant. William B. (Billy) Hurt, Hardaway's brother-in-law, became 1st lieutenant and second in command. The Battery was provided with tents, side-arms, camp equipage, &c., at the private expense of its first captain. This was the first Alabama company tendered to and accepted by the Confederate States government. It was raised and equipped as heavy artillery and was known as Hardaway's Battery, the usual practice among Confederate forces being to name a unit after its commander.

Hardaway's (later Hurt's) Battery wasmustered into Confederate service for the duration of the War at Lynchburg, VA, on 21 June 1861. It was at Manassas Junction, Va., before the battle of July 21, 1861, manning 32 pdr guns brought up from the Navy Yard at Newport News. When in early 1862 the defensive line at Manassas was abandoned the unit was converted to a field artillery unit and armed with four 3" ordnance rifles. It served at Yorktown in 1862, and was then attached to Gen. D. H. Hill's division. The battery fired the signal gun for the opening of the battle of Seven Pines and gained great credit for its work in this battle, fought under Stonewall Jackson at Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill and other engagements of the Seven Days' before Richmond, and subsequently was attached to Jackson's Corps until the death of that great leader.

During the Maryland Campaign of 1862 Lt. Tullis commanded the battery, and at Sharpsburg he selected the position from which Burnside's corps was driven back by D. H. Hill's division, on the right of the Confederate line. According to Hill's report only 30 men of the 13th Alabama remained as support to the division batteries on this hill, when Burnside made his last advance and was swept back by a storm of grape and canister. By October of 1862 that the Battery acquired its first 12 pdr. Whitworth gun, a highly accurate breech-loading gun made of steel rather than iron with an effective range of 4.5 to 5 miles, much farther than any other field piece on any battlefield of the war. The battery took part in operations about Port Royal and Upperville after the return to Virginia, and fought effectively at the battle of Fredericksburg, and near that city during the Chancellorsville campaign.

William B. Hurt became the Battery's commander when Robert A. Hardaway was promoted to Major and transferred to the 1st Virginia Artillery Regiment early in 1863. At Gettysburg as Hurt's Battery, Hardaway Ala. Artillery, the Battery was part of McIntosh's Battalion of A. P. Hill's corps, and on the second day was stationed behind a stone wall on a range of hills west of the town, where it was at times under a terrible artillery fire, and the galling attention of the Federal sharpshooters. Here Lt. Tullis was severely wounded about 3 p.m. July 2, his left foot being shot off at the ankle by a cannon ball. He was left in the field hospital when Gen. Lee retreated."


  • 21 June 1861 -- 32 pdr naval guns in fortification on the outskirts of Manassas Junction, Va.
  • spring 1862 -- four 3-inch ordnance rifles
  • 17 Sept 1862 -- two 3-inch Rifles and one 12 pdr. Whitworth Rifle.
  • April 30 (1863) -- two 12-pounder steel Whitworth guns and two 3-inch rifled guns. (Supplement to the Official Records, part II, vol 1, pp. 178-182 etc.)
  • Two of Hurt's 3-inch Rifles were lost at Bristoe Station, VA. Shortly after the guns were deployed, their infantry support withdrew and Lt. Jesse H. Crenshaw's section was captured along with the entire 2nd Rockbridge Artillery of Virginia, 14 Oct 1863.
  • December 1864 -- one 8-inch Howitzer, two 3-inch Rifles, and one 12-lb Whitworth.

The long range and soft whir of its Whitworth bolts were the pride of the service. These unique Whitworths were the best known guns on the field since their solid bolts made a peculiar sound that quite a few federal accounts mention. From these accounts we know generally where these projectiles landed in the Federal lines, very rare information indeed. For instance it is known that it was one of Hurt's Battery's two Whitworth guns that knocked away one of the vertical supports of the porch roof of Meade's headquarters at Gettysburg.

The losses of the Battery were severe in a number of engagements, for it was ever active and bold in its movements. They were surrendered at Appomattox Court House, 9 April 1865.

For more information on Hurt's Battery, click HERE.